As heard on NBC, ESPN, MTV and all over the radio, Steven Ybarra is a meteor of musical talent showering us with a heartfelt group of songs from his just-released new album “Love Love Love.” After spending years touring the US with his band and sharing the stage with the likes of the Gin Blossoms, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Lit, he has branched into his own solo career. The San Diego Music Awards has honored him more than three times, and he is a platinum prize-winner at the San Diego Songwriter’s Guild for his cross-genre songs that span from Christian pop to adult contemporary. The world-renowned marine artist Wyland has made Steven his official musician, and Steven has also lent his talents to the Red Cross Ivan Benefit Fundraiser, The Surfrider Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, and the YMCA, among many other causes. Whether you privately savor his CD or catch him playing live at the House of Blues, Steven’s signature vocal intimacy will not leave you unmoved. His captivating eyes reflect the world’s joys and sorrows, while his music mostly underlines hope and love inspired by his faith and his wife, Kellee.
Steven Ybarra began learning music at the age of 3 when his family got him a drum set and an accordion. Being raised in a family of Germans and Hispanics, his culture at home was colored and full of variety as he listened to everyone from Julio Iglesias to Helmut Lotti. His Oma (German for grandmother) first took him to Germany as a one-year-old, and from then on life became a mixture of sauerkraut and tamales. This Texas-born singer-songwriter attended Catholic school through the 8th grade, which set a spiritual foundation for his profound beliefs today. That’s where it all began - singing every week in church, being a part of the worship and praise music, and not knowing or dreaming at that young age what his life would hold. "I knew that I had been blessed with talent, I just was not sure how or where I would use it. Growing up, I just wanted to be successful in whatever I did. For a while, I wanted to be an attorney and know everything about justice. I wanted to make good for my family, I had a strong drive to excel at whatever I did, and to make a positive difference.”
In middle school, Steven played the snare drum in band, as did his father. After moving to San Diego from Houston, Steven went to high school in Carlsbad, CA where he found himself drawn to friends that wanted to play music. Right after high school, his mother took him to a Christian church where TV evangelist and prophet Kim Clement was visiting. At an altar call, Kim made a prophecy about Steven’s life saying “The Lord is working a miracle in this man’s life right now; he has no idea what the Lord is going to use him for.”
Around that time he became the front-man and co-writer for a band that he would perform in for over 12 years. The band’s name began as Liquid Groove then became 34Below, named after the 34th meridian, where the city of Carlsbad lies on a map. While Steven lead the band, they produced 5 CDs (distributed by EMI) spawning national radio airplay, and securing them bookings at key venues like House of Blues and Coors Amphitheater. Steven wrote over 200 songs, played over a thousand shows, was featured on radio and TV, and toured in 47 states, including the national Wyland Environmental Tour. Steven's singing has been on MTV's Road Rules, ESPN's Surfer Magazine Live, Beyond the Boundaries, the soundtrack from Wanted, and the Sycuan Casino TV Commercial. He has played with the national acts Sugar Ray, Vertical Horizon, The Calling, Five For Fighting, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Hootie and the Blowfish, Dishwalla, Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, The Pat McGee Band, A.J. Croce, the highly-touted top comedian Carrot Top, and many others. He has also personally worked with engineers Mike Plotnikoff (Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Cranberries,) and Mikal Blue (Colbie Caillat, Augustana, Five for Fighting).
Suddenly, in late 2005, Steven became very ill with Meningitis. As a result, his life completely changed. Although he could no longer perform with the band, his profound faith increased, causing a domino effect leading to an invigorating profound sense of Christian faith and spirituality, a thriving solo career where he could make his own songwriting decisions, and to marrying his long-time girlfriend Kellee who now manages his career. He now had time to slow down and find out what mattered most. He attends church regularly, sometimes singing in his church's worship service, and now is a guest worship leader in many churches in southern California such as The Rock Church in San Diego and Horizon Christian Fellowship in Rancho Santa Fe. When you listen to Steven’s new album, you’ll hear the bright optimism of his words and compassion of his tender voice. Moving tunes like “Good Thing” and “Please Please” jump off the CD to reveal an honest singer-songwriter making the very most of his refined craft. Steven’s outstanding musicianship and vocal nuancing make him shine among contemporary artists: listen closely, then become a believer.